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Monday Morning Mailbag: More Touches for McKinnon?

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We have heard so much about Teddy taking that next step. From your perspective, what would that consist of? -- Alex Clinton

Taking command of the huddle and of the offense pre-snap, sound decision making, cutting down on mistakes and taking care of the football are all areas where Teddy has demonstrated improvement over the last year, and it is these areas where he must continue to perform well in order to take the next step. A lot of people use statistics as the measure for taking the next step, but playing the QB position is about so much more than accumulating gaudy statistics. Those intangible qualities are more important. Also, QBs are ultimately judged by how many games they win. Teddy was the starting QB on a team that won 11 games and a division title, so he's off to a great start in his young career but he's also young enough to where he can have the expectation of improving every area of his game.

We all know what to expect from Adrian Peterson. My question is: How has Jerick McKinnon looked so far and can we expect more touches for him this season? He is really explosive and I love the way he runs. I don't expect him to take any of AP's carries, but there has to be a way to get him involved. -- Tom B. Houston, Texas

Last season, McKinnon had 73 offensive touches. Adrian had 357. Obviously there is an imbalance there, but for good reason. Adrian is the best RB in the NFL and the Vikings are better-served to feed him the ball as much as is appropriate. With that being said, I do believe McKinnon is doing a great job of developing his game and I do sense the Vikings are optimistic about his future and are interested in incorporating him into the attack as much as is possible without making Adrian less effective. My guess would be McKinnon sees more than 73 touches in 2016 but not to the point where Adrian's touches drop dramatically.

My question is about leadership. We hear a lot about the leaders of our offense and defense. Who is the leader of the special teams unit? -- Remington L. Brookings, South Dakota

I can't want to speak for the coaches or players, and they know more than I what the answer to this question is. But from what I observe, it seems to me that Adam Thielen would be a good candidate. He plays on multiple phases of special teams and has developed as a player and as a leader over the last few seasons.

Cordarrelle Patterson seems to be making great strides as a wide receiver. If he continues and earns some reps on offense, will he be taken off of return duties? -- Javaris Lee

Interesting question. Patterson is so good at the kickoff return role that it's hard to imagine taking him out of it, even if he becomes a primary contributor at wide receiver. Being a primary contributor at wide receiver in the Vikings offense likely won't be as taxing as being the primary receiver in some of the pass-heavy offenses in the League because the Vikings will rely a lot on Adrian Peterson and the running game. This means that exposing a primary receiver to a return role won't be assuming the same kind of risk to the passing game as it would for some other teams, so my guess is Patterson would remain in the return role even if he was a primary contributor as a receiver.

I read a lot of the articles and watch video clips on vikings.com, and I haven't read or seen anything about Moritz Böhringer. So I am wondering, how has he looked in the offseason program? -- Robert Minneapolis, MN

Böhringer has done a nice job of assimilating into the team and not letting the limelight distract him from his purpose. He's a hard worker with good physical ability who understands it's better to take a day-by-day approach in order to improve rather than only looking at the bigger picture of trying to earn a roster spot. The learning curve is steep in the NFL for any young player, but it is especially steep for a player who was born in another country and hasn't played against high-level competition. Keep in mind, there are many players who were highly recruited coming out of high school and wound up playing at the highest levels of Division I college football, but didn't make it one year in the NFL. Böhringer has only played the game for a handful of years and hasn't seen a level of competition anywhere close to what he's seeing right now. So while it's great to embrace his story, it's also important to keep in mind the significant challenge that is ahead for him. The biggest thing for Böhringer, aside from displaying the ability to be a good player, will be learning how to play the game and learning the intricacies of playing the wide receiver position in this offense.

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